Sunday, December 12, 2010

Book Review: The Distant Hours by Kate Morton

So magical was "The Forgotten Garden" that as soon as I finished it, I downloaded another Kate Morton novel - choosing her most recent release "The Distant Hours".

The audible "Publishers Summary" is as follows:
Edie Burchill and her mother have never been close, but when a long lost letter arrives one Sunday afternoon with the return address of Milderhurst Castle, Kent, printed on its envelope, Edie begins to suspect that her mother’s emotional distance masks an old secret. 
Evacuated from London as a 12-year-old girl, Edie’s mother is chosen by the mysterious Juniper Blythe and taken to live at Milderhurst Castle with the Blythe family: Juniper, her twin sisters, and their father, Raymond.
Fifty years later, as Edie chases the answers to her mother’s riddle. She, too, is drawn to Milderhurst Castle and the eccentric sisters Blythe. Old ladies now, the three still live together, the twins nursing Juniper, whose abandonment by her fiancé in 1941 plunged her into madness.
Inside the decaying castle, Edie begins to unravel her mother’s past. But there are other secrets hidden in the stones of Milderhurst Castle, and Edie is about to learn more than she expected. For the truth of what happened in the distant hours has been waiting a long time for someone to find it....
The Distant hours is written in a similar format to "The Forgotten Garden" - with various time shifts - between the early 1900s, WWII and present day. I was prepared for this - and the sensation of time travel didn't bother me this novel, but I did find "The Distant Hours" a bit slower to start than I had hoped - readers will likely be confused by the "Mud Men" chapter in the novel's introduction. It will make sense in the end - a little patience will go a long way in the first 4 or 5 hours of the audiobook.

Once again Caroline Lee's narration is expert - I could actually see myself wandering the castle grounds, hear the castle caretakers running through the secret passageways and picture the image of Juniper Blythe heading of to choose Meredith from the lot of London children evacuated during the war.

Overall, I recommend The Distant Hours by Kate Morton. I'm quick to forgive the length and the slow ramp for the utterly pleasant story, engaging and sympathetic characters and the ability to escape into Milderhurst Castle for a while. You'll be surprised at the secrets that come out - in that "I never would have guessed" kind of way.

The Distant Hours was written by Kate Morton and published by Bolinda Publishing. Audible release date was October 26th, 2010. The Distant Hours is narrated by Caroline Lee and has an unabridged running time of 22 hours 30 minutes.

Next in my audiobook queue is Kate Morton's "The House at Riverton". I'll take a couple of days "off" cleanse my audio palette (figuratively) and launch into my next English country vacation.

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